Publicis Zeroes In on Lotto’s Moments of Victory

LOS ANGELES Publicis in the West today relaunches the Washington Lottery’s Lotto game with a campaign that highlights the act of winning, the shop said.

The campaign includes TV, radio and outdoor ads, as well as wild postings, point-of-sale materials and online efforts. Ads introduce the tagline, “Who’s next?” which is meant to make people feel like they can win, said Kevin Kehoe, co-president and chief creative officer at the Publicis Groupe shop in Seattle. Spending on the campaign is just under $1 million, the client said.

Two 30-second TV spots employ reverse motion to lead viewers from a moment that resulted from someone winning the lottery to the time a player learned of the winning numbers. One spot opens with a newspaper blowing in the wind as it moves in reverse motion past a woman walking her dog and a person riding a bicycle, and into the hands of a man sitting outside at a table, reading the lottery numbers from the paper. Onscreen copy is: “7:53 a.m., March 23, 2002. Steve Boyd discovers he’s won $2,000,000.”

Another execution, “Soup,” has a dog licking tomato soup off a kitchen floor. The animal is shown moving backwards out of the kitchen through a doggie door as the spill rises off the floor and back into the soup pan, which ends up on the stovetop. A woman is shown stirring the soup as she listens to the winning lottery numbers. Onscreen text indicates that at 8:05 p.m. on January 26, 2002, “Amy Swanson discovers she’s won $5,000,000.”

TV spots are airing statewide through Nov. 2, during news and sports programs, as well as on shows such as Friends, 24, Oprah Winfrey, Survivor, Alias, Will & Grace and Trading Spaces.

Three outdoor ads also include the date and time in which someone won the lottery, and show images of items that have been dropped on the floor, including a strawberry milk shake, a plastic cup of soda with ice cubes and a plant. There are also three posters and one 60-second radio spot focusing on the moment someone won.

Washington first introduced its Lotto game in 1984. Two years ago, the game was dropped in favor of Lotto Plus, and, instead of having to select six balls from a pod of 49, players had to select five balls from a pod of 43 and one from a second pod of 23 gold balls. The lottery stopped offering the Lotto Plus game on Oct. 4.

“That was not well-received in the marketplace,” said Michael Cousins, marketing director for the client in Olympia, Wash., who noted that sales for Lotto Plus have declined on a jackpot-by-jackpot basis. “People choose to play because it’s a simple, impulse purchase,” he said, adding that the gold balls were confusing to players.

As part of pre-launch efforts, Publicis broke 10 15-second spots last month that showed real people doing away with the gold ball by performing actions such as wrapping it in dough and deep-frying it, squashing it with a shovel and blowing it up. “The loyal Lotto players…had a healthy resentment for the gold ball,” said Kehoe. An online component of the campaign includes a game that allows people to get rid of the gold ball, he said.

With the new campaign, the Washington Lottery wants to maintain current sales volume, Cousins said. The lottery projects 2003 Lotto sales of $57 million and overall sales of $450 million.